Stipe Miocic defended the UFC heavyweight belt in emphatic fashion in front of a hometown Cleveland crowd at UFC 203.
The Ohio native knocked Alistair Overeem out cold with about 30 seconds remaining in the first round of the championship match. Miocic added a couple of exclamation-point punches on his unconscious opponent to bring intervention from referee Marc Goddard.
“He hit harder than I thought, he knocked me down but I wasn’t hurt,” Miocic said of a flash knockdown earlier in the first frame. “I said I would keep this belt for a long time and I did it. I wanted to shut him down, turn the motherboard off.”
In other bouts, Fabricio Werdum made a strong case for a rematch with Miocic by again dominating Travis Browne en route to a unanimous decision, Jimmie Rivera upset Urijah Faber, and Mickey Gall annihilated former professional wrestler CM Punk. Gall coaxed a tap off a rear-naked choke 134 seconds into the bout.
Gall called out Sage Northcutt and CM Punk refused to call it a career.
“Yeah, you know in life you go big or you go home,” the former WWE champion reflected. “I just like to take challenges. It was a hell of a climb. I didn’t get to the summit tonight but it doesn’t mean I’m going to give up, it doesn’t mean I’m going anywhere, it doesn’t mean I’m going to stop.”